Three MSU alumni receive national Milken Educator Award

Contact: Bethany Shipp

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Three Mississippi State University education graduates who teach in the Magnolia State have been honored with the national Milken Educator Award.

Anna Katherine Davis at Houston High School
Anna Katherine Davis (Photo submitted/courtesy of Milken Family Foundation)

Anna Katherine Davis of Houston High School, Jennifer Hite of Pearl Upper Elementary, and Kristien Long of Neshoba Central Elementary were surprised with the prestigious award during recent schoolwide assemblies at their respective schools.

Known as the “Oscars of Teaching,” the recognition program honors outstanding educators across the country. The award is given by the Milken Family Foundation and includes a $25,000 cash prize. Up to 75 educators are receiving the 2023-24 award during the foundation’s national tour culminating with the 3,000th Milken Educator.

Jennifer Hite at Pearl Upper Elementary
Jennifer Hite (Photo submitted/courtesy of Milken Family Foundation)

“I am thrilled to see our alumni, Anna Katherine Davis, Jennifer Hite and Kristien Long, receive the Milken Educator Award,” said Teresa Jayroe, MSU College of Education dean. “Their accomplishments highlight the quality of our teacher education programs and our commitment to excellence in education. We are proud to have contributed to their professional journey and celebrate their success in enriching the lives of their students.”

Davis teaches math to 9-12th grade students at Houston High School, where she also chairs the math department, sponsors the senior play and Homecoming Court, and serves on various committees. Davis graduated from MSU in 2012 with her bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

Kristien Long at Neshoba Central Elementary
Kristien Long (Photo submitted/courtesy of Milken Family Foundation)

At Pearl Upper Elementary, Hite cultivates a love for science among her fifth-grade students while serving as the science chair, geography bee chair and a mentor to first-year educators and student teachers. Hite received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from MSU in 2008.

Long is a fifth-grade math and science teacher at Neshoba Central Elementary, where she also serves as the math chair and leads professional development workshops for new and veteran teachers. Long is a 2016 MSU alumna with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

For more information about the Milken Educator Awards and the recipients, visit

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